49 Comments

Summary:

If you were paying attention to the media event today the iTunes announcement is already old news. I apologize, but I’m not as quick as I used to be, so I’ve only just downloaded the update. Hi, I’m iTunes 7. I look familiar, but I’m only […]

If you were paying attention to the media event today the iTunes announcement is already old news. I apologize, but I’m not as quick as I used to be, so I’ve only just downloaded the update.

Hi, I’m iTunes 7. I look familiar, but I’m only kinda related to the iTunes you’re used to. I’m greyer. I have more eye-candy. And I hog memory. You weren’t using that, were you?

I am less than pleased with the new version of iTunes. To be honest, I was completely content with iTunes 6. Heck, even iTunes 5 was alright by my standards. As the older versions of WinAMP demonstrated (and my personal favorite Windows player, NAD), sometimes simpler is just better.

Where’d the RAM Go?

I’m not a cheap man, but I’m still not quite ready to step out on a limb and grab a MacBook Pro just yet. Until I’m ready for a 110° laptop, I’m stuck with my old 15″ Powerbook and it’s paltry 512MB of RAM. In general, 512MB has been fine. I can run Firefox, Safari, Photoshop, Mail, Quicksilver, and Cyberduck all at once without a single hiccup.

I used to be able to add iTunes to that list. No more.

Don’t get me wrong, the Coverflow disc browser is nice, but it only contributes to iTunes eating about 100MB of real memory and over 300MB of virtual memory. Nice. So as long as I don’t mind watching my Expose windows stutter, I can still listen to music. I swear the original Coverflow.app was much faster. (Note: it gets a bit better with a mini-window, but that’s not really the point).

Not that some of the new features aren’t fun (iPod at a glance is brilliant). But entertainment at the expense of my system memory is a step in the wrong direction if you ask me. I don’t want a behemoth, just a nice player that syncs with my iPod.

Yeah, I’m whining a bit. I could always go buy more RAM — but I shouldn’t have to.

We’ve Painted. Again.

As is now becoming a tradition for Apple, they’ve gone ahead and revamped the iTunes interface as well. Those who remember the iTunes 5 release and the death of brushed metal, the pillaging continues. This time we’ve changed all of the sliders too. Sorry, Aqua, iTunes just doesn’t want to have anything to do with you.

Bye bye Aqua

I must say, iTunes continues to evolve into something that is looking more and more like Apple’s slow website redesign. I’m all for new design (heck, look at this place), but some consistency is nice. That’s what makes all of Apple’s hardware so unmistakeable: they carry design instruments through different pieces. Software, I guess, is completely immune to that rule.

Secretly, I’m a big fan of Apple’s new design elements. The column headers are clearer, the interface cleaner, and black-shininess is always appreciated. Oh yeah, and now we’re back to a blue icon.

That being said, I’m not sure why iTunes continues to be the only application that Apple continuously revamps. It’s a new version, Apple, I get it. There’s no need to change it completely for the world to notice that you’re now selling Disney videos and five flavors of iPod nano.

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  1. Personally, I like the continual revamps of iTunes… I think the product continues to evolve for the better.

    And lets be honest here… if you want to run the newest flashy software, you’re gonna need the newest flashy hardware.

  2. Sure, but I don’t want the flashiest all the time. A simpler Apple-written option would be nice too.

  3. If you haven’t noticed the trend since the beginning of computing, as software progresses so does the hardware requirements, including memory. I don’t think they are going to stop development of their product just because a few people are whining about memory. This rant just seems more of a personal problem rather than a fault in iTunes 7.

    Sounds like its time for a much needed memory upgrade.

  4. I really dont complain if you have 512 RAM u are at the minimum i use 2 GB as i like flow in the machine. The thing is that we (the users) always want more and more requier better HW this is how it is and always will be.

  5. Don’t know if you noticed, but iTunes isn’t the ONLY audio player for OS X. It’s not even the only iPod manager. (http://www.yamipod.com/main/modules/downloads/) It’s not like apple have suddenly stopped you listening to music.

  6. If you don’t like it, don’t us it!

  7. iTunes 7: Where’s My RAM? — No One’s Listening Archive Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    [...] That being said, I’m not sure why iTunes continues to be the only application that Apple continuously revamps. It’s a new version, Apple, I get it. There’s no need to change it completely for the world to notice that you’re now selling Disney videos and five flavors of iPod nano. This post has been published in slightly different form at The Apple Blog. 09.12.06 / 4pm by Yasser Dahab. [...]

  8. All hastiness aside, I’m still going to continue to use iTunes because it’s still the best manager out there, even if I think it’s a bit bloated. I simply question why an application that at it’s core plays music requires as much of my system as my RAW image processor.

    You guys are right, though, I do need an upgrade. And I will — eventually.

  9. I don’t think Yasser was looking for comments like these. It’s more a question of why, why does an app like iTunes need to consume as much memory as it does? It does a lot, granted, for being a media player/manager. To any programmer out there, this question makes one wonder if the code isn’t as efficient as it should be.

    Honestly, I’m saddened at the video addition to iTunes, it breaks a logical organization Apple started in OS X. I get that from a market perspective, Apple went the route any company in their position would take. Yet, I harken for the day when my photos where handled by iPhoto, my tunes were in iTunes, my movies were in, they were in…

    See the problem that we have here? When did iTunes suddenly need to be the end all be all for iLife media management? How about some breaking up, because it’s becoming the WMP of OS X.

  10. First i like to say i agree that you should expect software to require more and more memmory.
    But it depends on the program, i would expect photoshop or any video editing program to “eat” memmory, but this is a music player, its suposed to run in the background while you are working, not in the front eating at your resources.

    But in any case next to the eye candy iTunes is like the media player for windows, an utterly useless player you have to use when you first get your mac and youre installing something else to replace it.

  11. “That being said, I’m not sure why iTunes continues to be the only application that Apple continuously revamps.”

    iTunes seems to be a testbed for design change feedback. That said, I think the new look is fine, with the exception of the rewind/play/fast-forward buttons. I really don’t like those.

    RAM usage is about the same to me. iTunes has always used a large amount of memory. At least this time around they’ve managed to add features that at least put that RAM to good use (like Cover Flow), and the good old plain text view seems to scroll more smoothly.

    I wonder if iTunes 7 has any multi-core optimizations. This is something those with Intel Macs should report on.

  12. iTunes gets constant overhauls because it is the most widely used apple created piece of software from folks on both platforms. The fact is, it isn’t a simple music player anymore. It’s going to keep getting updated as long as it enjoys the market share that it does. Besides, if you’re a mac user, shouldn’t you have every possible meg of ram crammed into your machine? I’ll run a bloated iTunes over media player ANY day.

    I’m glad someone else noticed the recycled icon though. Considering they ditched the aqua features, I’m surprised they went back to the blue.

  13. You hit the nail on the head, Todd.

  14. I’m seriously hoping that the interface enhancements will be reused in 10.5. I absolutely love the new plastic feel and more ProKit interface-looking things. I’d make sense for them to reuse these designs because that way iTunes would fit right in with 10.5, instead of looking a tad out-of-place in 10.4.

  15. Thijs van der Vossen Tuesday, September 12, 2006

    On my machine the new iTunes uses 55MB real and 224MB virtual while playing music with the cover browser view open and 49MB real when minimized.

    Let’s take a look at the other apps I’m running. Safari takes 49MB real and 213MB virtual with one window and a few tabs, NewsFire 40MB real and 194MB virtual, Mail 28MB real and 185MB virtual, Quicksilver 22MB real and 177MB virtual etc…

    I don’t think iTunes’ memory usage is not very much different from the other OS X apps. Are you sure iTunes wasn’t updating your library or downloading cover art?

  16. iTunes is NOT bloated, my machines is flying…

    I think your a bit behind the times dude, upgrade your Mac, they don’t overheat as much as you think.

    You need to upgrade, otherwise you will be left behind, and postings like this will seem more and more out of touch with your readership.

    I agree that the coverflow implementation on iTunes 7 is not as good as the original CoverFlow, they need to improve the caching, and yes it does increase the memory requirements.

    But please remember, iTunes is Apples digital media portal, its a critical element to tie their hardware devices to their content services. It will continue to evolve.

    It doesn’t get a 88% marketshare by being iTunes 2.0.

  17. Hungry hungry hippos « Isn’t that special Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    [...] It’s looking very much like 2GB of RAM in the Mac Pro simply is not enough. With any other computer that would not be a big deal. $100 would solve the problem. But oh no…not for the illustrious Apple Mac “Pro.” It will cost a painful $300 for another 1GB. Sure the computer is ultra quiet. I’m sure those special heat sinks are helping. But my god, $300 for a measly one GB of RAM? As this post also mentions, iTunes 7 now sucks a lot of memory as well. Since iTunes is one of those applications that is left running constantly, this is a real problem. [...]

  18. Strange thing, but it’s actually faster on my mini than 6.0

  19. If somerone wants do mail me a MBP for the “sake of the readership,” I won’t refuse. ;)

  20. “Strange thing, but it’s actually faster on my mini than 6.0″

    Is it an Intel mini? If so, that might be a sign that Apple added multicore optimizations to the code. I certainly hope they did.

  21. I’ve now put iTunes 7 on 3 machines, from a Quicksilver to a new Mac Pro, all packed with about 2Gb ram each, and have found no lag from any except during the first ten minutes when it was converting for gapless playback. After that it was smooth as silk.

    I have to politely disagree about the “eye-candy”. The interface just keeps getting better and tighter. I don’t see them throwing in unnecessary features and they are following accepted interface guidelines quite well, especially in the store section.

  22. Murray Todd Williams Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    There may be another explanation for the extreme use of resources:

    Recall just a few weeks ago (at the WWDC keynote) the demonstration of the new Core Animation framework. This cover art flipping looks EXACTLY like those demos. My guess is that iTunes is sort of an “early adopter” of that entire technology/framework. Since a new animation framework has to be bundled into the application, iTunes suddenly looks resource-bloated.

    Once Leopard is released, the animation framework will be a function of the OS and not the application. Granted, it very well might use 100M of memory again, but that 100M will be used by all the apps and maybe even the core OS X UI and improve the user experience. That might make it a bit easier to justify the new hungry resource requirements.

    On the other hand, I would argue the entire iTunes UI is getting more complicated and less intuitive to use. I think Apple needs to remember the KISS principle

  23. I have no problems with iTunes. A great job! i like it and hope Apple continues to evolve the app. Great job Apple!

  24. yeah i think itunes 7 is a big let down. hey drop coverflow into itunes 6 – and I would be happy again – it’s too much for my 800mhz ibook.

  25. Initial impression of iTunes 7 Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    [...] Weird user interface that we will all get used to eventually. iTunes is in a class of its own. The iPod tab is pretty hideous. And there is way too much reflection being used. I really don’t think that all the eye candy was necessary. People with slower computers will just suffer from all that stuff. iTunes should be something that I can run in the background without taking too much RAM; I want to be able to listen to my music while I do my programming or photo editing. For a good article on this, read Where’s My RAM?. [...]

  26. OK, so I’m on a Windows XP system with over 2gb RAM and plenty of kick in my SATA drive… so here’s my technical question I hope someone can answer:

    Why does my music stutter terribly when I go to a new playlist while it’s playing, or when I go to a different window? I’ve tried the “waveout” thing, didn’t help (made things worse)

  27. stop yer whining Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Whatever. Any serious Mac user should have a minimum of 1GB RAM, if your machine can hold that. And the rest of us who do have adequate RAM shouldn’t be punished by “backward compatibility” for those who don’t want to shell out a little cash for a 512MB stick of RAM (it ain’t THAT expensive nowadays). It’s not like you own a clamshell iBook, for crying out loud…

  28. 356 Mb of Ram for iTunes I think that’s a lot. I’ve a 2Ghz Core Duo Black Macbook with 2Gb and in my computer runs perfectly but it’s indisputable that 356 Mb of my precious RAM for an audio player it’s too much.

  29. While I can’t speak to the speed that some other users report, I am running iTunes 7 on a g5 imac with a gig of ram. I have never had speed problems in the two years that I have had this machine, but now, having installed iTunes 7 there is system wide lag. Even now, typing this I’m getting lag from the keyboard input (i type a letter and wait before i see it on screen). Finder windows are taking seconds to close etc…

    This never happened with iTunes 6 or earlier. I popped open my activity monitor and lo iTunes 7 is eating – get this: 800 megs of REAL memory with a 1.5 gig swap.

    Now granted, my machine is not the latest and greatest, but I would hope that I don’t have to buy a new computer every year just to use current, mainstream software.
    I don’t really understand what’s wrong where other users are reporting memory consumption of itunes at only 40 megs, but it is worth noting, also that I have like 5000 songs – so maybe that has something to do with it, but this was never a problem for itunes 6.

    That being said, it’s great to look at cover art but it’s not 800 meg of ram great – i’m going back to itunes 6.

  30. Oren Sreebny’s Weblog Thursday, September 14, 2006

    iTunes Store makes you upgrade iTunes now…

    As I’ve written before, I have a problem with the copy-protection that’s applied to music in Apple’s iTunes Music Store. Because I use devices that can’t play the encrypted iTunes format, like my Squeezebox, I need to have my music in open formats…

  31. I was worried that it would break my G4 iMac (1Ghz processor, 768 RAM), especially with all the problems I’ve heard about.

    Awesomely, it didnt.

    It might be because I keep my music collection hovering around 20 gigs; this means there are fewer covers to load.

    The thing that’s been annoying ME more than anything is the amount of changes to familiar buttons. Things got shifted around, or they mean different things, or or or….

    I know that each iTunes revamp means getting used to changes, but this is he first time that I have felt like I’ve had to hunt for old features. I figure I just have to get used to it, but it is still irritatating (I REALLY miss the buttons for artist, album, etc.).

  32. so far I havent really noticed it slowing down my machine.
    I have a macbook with 512 MB or RAM
    and I was running Flash, Safari, Itunes iChat and messenger all at once without noticing a big difference.

    maybe i shouldve tried running photoshop also.

    But on a sidenote, the green icon in my opinion was alot better.

  33. I assume that Coverflow can be turned off? – if it is does the amount of RAM used go down considerably?

  34. Yeah, Cover Flow can be disabled. But still. iTunes is not flashy software, it’s a workhorse. I expect to have to max my RAM for Aperture, but not for something that just organizes files and then pipes them out through CoreAudio or CoreVideo!

  35. iTunes Music Store – Now with more ways to blow your paycheque…

    Steve Jobs announced in his Keynote speech this month that there would be new games on the iPod as well as movies with DVD quality on the iTunes Music Store. With over 75 titles to begin with, Apple has truly made it’s music store the world&#8217…

  36. okay, so i’m a little late to the party, but I haven’t seen this addressed anywhere else:
    I’m not so much concerned with the RAM usage as with the lack of interoperability with the iPod. It seems with every release of iTunes there is more of a focus on the music library on your computer, rather than on your iPod. Ideally, these would be the same, but since my Powerbook G4 has only 55GB of space and my iPod has 60, I am forced to store my music on my ipod and backup onto dvds. I think this is the case for many, if not most, large-capacity ipod users.
    Now, as I said, every release of iTunes seems to focus more on your library than your iPod. In previous versions Apple introduced the ingenious party shuffle, but oops, it doesn’t work with any of the music on your ipod. (if you want to talk about speed, maybe it’s just my imagination, but itunes 7 seems to go slower only when I’m trying to look through my ipod. – although this may have to do with Apple’s abandonment of ipod Firewire transfers.)
    In iTunes 7, this disregard for ipod features is worse than ever: niether coverflow or artwork view are applicable to your ipod music. the new ‘find album artwork’ doesn’t work for music already on your ipod. party shuffle is still local music only. Apple clearly doesn’t want me deleting music from my computer after it’s put on my ipod, but i don’t see another choice save connecting an external HD every time i want to listen to music or sync my ipod.
    As Apple’s hub between Mac and iPod, I would expect iTunes to have more functionality for ipod users, but they seem to be intentionally making it inconvenient to use.

  37. Check this out…

    http://i10.tinypic.com/4ghxnnr.jpg

    In case it’s too small to read, the task manager is informing me that iTunes is using 299,000kb of ram, and it used as much as 521,760k of ram!!!

    Anyone else see a problem with that?

    I’ve got 1GB of ram. I can hold an entire cd in .WAV format in my ram, but iTunes just eats it up! WTF?

  38. iTunes 7 doesn’t use that much RAM. The Real Memory figure on my Mac is only around 32MB. Don’t forget that the Virtual Memory figure includes files that are mapped into the process’ memory space, such as the read-only code and data parts of the various frameworks. (i.e. It shows the amount of address space that’s been used, not the amount of actual memory that’s in use.)

    That’s why TextEdit, which is a very small program in and of itself, shows up as using 350MB of Virtual Memory on my system immediately after it’s been launched. It hasn’t actually used that much RAM, or even that much space in your swapfile(s). It’s the much smaller Real Memory figure that’s the main one you should be looking at.

    If iTunes 7 is slower on your machine than iTunes 6, that’s certainly an issue, but I doubt memory usage is really the cause of it.

  39. Some of you bring up some very good points, and I think it will be interesting to watch how Apple directs iTunes in the future. It was originally developed as a music player, but as video content becomes more integrated (and after the “iTV” hits the market), iTunes will quickly evolve to more of a media hub than anything else.

    Perhaps, then, the market still exists for Apple to create a simple stand-alone music player. But I guess that’s what third-party applications are for…

  40. Alok Jethanandani Friday, October 20, 2006

    Apple needs to learn to balance aesthetics with the art of memory conservation. i dont seriously care about new flashy coverapp technology if its going to eat up 100 MB. Even Photoshop doesn’t take that much RAM.

    So please there is art in designing cool on software. And Apple in the past has shown exemplary skill in doing just that. Apple, you need to redo iTunes 7.

  41. A lot here commenting seem to be missing a very important point. I am sitting on 4 gigs of ram, a raid 0 set up with some of the latest bells and whistles for hardware (

  42. i cant get my itunes 7 working it says my ipod is full when it isnt coz its got nofin on it n it says my libary is full n it wont let more songs go on but wer is my libary n wot settings do i have it on synce settings or not? plz get bk 2 me a.s.a.p lv lucy x

  43. I think the main point that needs to be made here is that Apple should never have released iTunes 7 in its current state. I love the new coverflow feature but when it actually slows my computer down to a point where I am unable to work the feature becomes more of a hindrance than something that adds to my overall user experience. Apple should never have released this software knowing that a large amount of the installed user base would blindly upgrade as they, like myself, trust Apple to only release quality, working products.

    Just for the record my machine is a macbook 2Ghz core duo with 2Gb of RAM and it is almost unuseable with iTunes 7 plus a few other apps open.

  44. You can reduce the memory usage by configuring settings :)
    It worked for me ;)

  45. so not everykid had the money for more ram so i dont understand why it has to use so much ram ive erased almost all my pictures just so my computor acts more smooth but yet it studders
    everytime the song changes or the song has a long pause i think the upgrade was a bad idea simpler is better in this case as for you people that have cruel remarks nice to have money to run your computor fast or not enough music to feel this i have 60 Gb of music and i woudnt want to erase any of it just so my comp runs good

  46. Anyone ever notice that the longer you run iTunes7 the more and more memory it chews up? I managed after an hour or two to chew up 1.3 gb of ram with iTunes taking up a solid 700 MB of that. It seems to start up with about 100 to 200 MB of ram and it steadily and unknowingly works its way higher and higher. Granted my computer is a little more than a year old, and its a PC. Running on a Pentium D 840, and 1.5 GB of ram. Also am running on Vista, and that takes up its own serious chunk of ram, but the only saving grace is that neat flash drive swap file speed boost. That truly keeps things from freezing up.

  47. my ipod library says its full when they are only 134 songs on it. i have the latest version. how do i fix this ? please help !

  48. Zach Thurston Sunday, December 2, 2007

    This guy has BEYOND the latest and greatest hardware and he still has problems.
    http://discussions.apple.com/message.jspa?messageID=5317708#5317708
    (post by Powel212)
    2.6 GB is a RIDICULOUS amount of RAM to use for a music player.
    I’ll stick with my Zune

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